diet after prostate surgery: a complete guide; fruits/vegetables/nuts/beans layer the right side

Diet After Prostate Surgery [Complete Guide]

Prostate surgery is a common treatment option for various prostate conditions, including prostate cancer. While the surgical procedure itself is crucial, the road to recovery extends beyond the operating room.

One essential aspect of recovery is maintaining a healthy diet after prostate surgery. Proper nutrition plays a vital role in supporting the healing process, managing potential side effects, and promoting overall well-being. 

In this guide, we will explore the significance of a post-surgery diet and provide valuable insights and recommendations to help individuals optimize their dietary choices for a successful recovery journey.

Importance of Diet After Prostate Surgery

The importance of a well-balanced diet after prostate surgery cannot be overstated. A nutritious diet can contribute significantly to the recovery process, helping to reduce the risk of complications and improve overall health outcomes. 

Adequate nutrition provides the body with essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that support tissue healing, strengthen the immune system, and promote optimal cellular function. 

Moreover, a proper diet can help manage potential side effects of prostate surgery, such as fatigue, constipation, urinary incontinence, and changes in appetite.

Additionally, following a healthy diet has been shown to decrease cancer recurrence. 

By making mindful food choices, individuals can enhance their physical well-being, boost energy levels, and regain strength more efficiently, ultimately improving their quality of life post-surgery.

Download your free copy of The Essential Guide to Grocery Shopping for Prostate Health for added information on foods to add to your daily routine!

Common Surgeries

There are several common prostate surgeries performed to address various prostate conditions. Here are some of the most frequently performed procedures.

  • Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)
  • Radical Prostatectomy
  • Transurethral Incision of the Prostate (TUIP)
  • Laser Prostatectomy
  • Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy (TUMT)
  • Prostate Seed Implantation (Brachytherapy)

This article is aimed to provide the optimal diet recommendations after radical prostatectomy. A radical prostatectomy is the removal of the prostate gland. 

If your treatment includes radiation, be sure to check out: Foods to Avoid and Include During Prostate Radiation.

Diet After Prostate Surgery

Diet after prostate surgery can be broken down into two categories: short term and long term.

Short term diet adjustments will vary per doctor discretion and side effects.

Long term diet habits can reduce chance of recurrence and prevent chronic disease. These are lifelong adjustments.

Short Term Diet After Prostate Surgery

Some doctors may recommend a liquid diet directly after surgery. This is mainly to allow your body to heal and decrease chance of side effects from foods. 

A full liquid diet includes:

  • Blended soups and broth
  • Gelatin
  • Ice cream
  • Pudding 
  • Juice
  • Soda
  • Hot coffee or tea

To learn more about a liquid diet, head over to Liquid Diet for Cancer Patients 101.

Following a liquid diet, your doctor may recommend a soft diet. This would include more tolerable foods for the GI tract while your body is healing after prostate surgery. 

Include on a soft diet:

  • Soups
  • Mashed potatoes/sweet potatoes
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Canned fruit
  • Pasta

Avoid on soft diet:

  • Raw fruits and vegetables
  • Cruciferous vegetables (brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage)
  • Nuts/seeds
  • Tough meat
  • Spicy food
  • Fried food
  • Carbonated drinks

Aside from healing, diet recommendations after prostate surgery are to combat unwanted side effects.

Common Side Effects may Include: 

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Upset Stomach
  • Urinary Incontinence

Luckily, many of these side effects have similar dietary recommendations. Whether you’re experiencing abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, urinary incontinence, or an upset stomach after prostate surgery, we have diet recommendations for you!

Abdominal Pain

If you’re experiencing abdominal pain, you want to reduce intake of gassy foods. Gassy foods may worsen abdominal pain. 

Avoid:

  • Carbonated Drinks
  • Energy Drinks
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage 
  • Brussels Sprouts

Additionally, it’s recommended to monitor fiber intake while having abdominal pain. 

Limit:

  • Whole Grain Bread
  • Oats
  • Fruits with Skin
  • Leafy Greens

Lastly, some foods may be difficult to digest and are worth avoiding at this time.

Limit:

  • Greasy/Fried Food
  • Acidic Foods
  • Popcorn
  • Red/Fatty Meats
  • Dairy
  • Dried Fruit
  • Sugar Alcohol

Below are some foods to include while experiencing abdominal pain. These are considered easy to digest. 

Include:

  • Water (per MD recommendation) 
  • White Bread and Flour
  • White Rice
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Bananas
  • Applesauce
  • Canned Fruits in 100% Fruit Juice
  • Soup 

It’s important to slowly introduce high fiber foods into your diet after following a lower fiber diet.

Bloating

Bloating is generally common after prostate surgery. 

Some foods may worsen bloating or lead to abdominal pain.

Avoid: 

  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Carbonated Drinks
  • Dried Fruit
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Frozen Meals
  • Prepackaged Snacks
  • Sugar Free Candy

On the flip side, some diet interventions can improve bloating. 

Include:

  • Adequate water (following MD recommendation) 
  • Yogurt
  • Tea
  • Ginger
  • Bananas 
  • Avocado
  • Cucumbers

Additionally, eat slowly. Eating quickly allows you to swallow more air which can contribute to bloating. 

Constipation

When it comes to constipation, you want to gradually increase your fiber intake. Fiber can help alleviate constipation. However, consuming too much fiber at once can cause increased abdominal pain. 

Foods don’t necessarily need to be avoided when experiencing constipation. Try to substitute low fiber foods for high fiber foods. 

Adequate water intake can improve constipation. Follow your oncologist recommendation for water intake after prostate surgery.

Foods to Include:

  • Cruciferous Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Whole Grains
  • Fruit with Skin
  • Prune Juice

Additionally, try to move frequently to resolve constipation. As always, check with your doctor first.

Upset Stomach

When you have an upset stomach after prostate surgery, one of the last things you want to do is eat. 

However, it is important to obtain adequate nutrition daily. 

Consider high calorie and high protein foods when dealing with an upset stomach or general decreased appetite. This allows less volume while still obtaining nutrients. 

If you’re looking for shakes to include, check out my article, Best High Calorie Drinks for Cancer Patients. 

On the other hand, some foods may fill your stomach without providing much nutrition. Try and keep less nutrient dense foods to a minimum while you’re not eating much. 

Finally, some foods can even worsen an upset stomach.

Avoid: 

  • Potato Chips
  • Fried Food
  • Spicy Food
  • Greasy Food
  • Candy

Include: 

  • Soups/Broths
  • Smoothies
  • Hummus
  • Peanut Butter
  • Boiled Vegetables
  • Ginger
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Eggs
  • Nutrition Supplements

Consider having “mini meals” every 3-4 hours. Try and include at least 2 food groups with each mini meal. 

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary Incontinence is one of the most common side effects after a prostatectomy.

There are few dietary recommendations to improve urinary incontinence.

  • Monitor water intake and follow doctor recommendations
  • Limit alcohol
  • Limit caffeine
  • Decrease spicy and acidic foods
  • Avoid carbonated drinks

Interestingly, one study shows higher vegetable intake and lower polyunsaturated fat intake after prostate cancer diagnosis may be associated with better urinary function.

Long Term Diet After Prostate Surgery

In an ideal world, after treatment a man would be forever cured from prostate cancer. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

According to The Prostate Cancer Foundation, 25-33% of men with prostate cancer will experience a recurrence after surgery or radiation. 

Diet interventions can help reduce chance of recurrence. 

Long term, it’s recommended to follow an overall healthy diet after prostate surgery. Research shows a generally balanced eating plan can decrease risk of cancer recurrence and reduce risk of other chronic diseases.

General Guidelines

Now this brings us to the question: what can I eat after prostate surgery?

As stated above, a generally healthy diet after prostate surgery can promote better outcomes. Below are some tips to achieve a healthy eating pattern.

Studies show following nutrition guidelines can improve prostate cancer outcomes after surgery. It’s recommended to regularly consume adequate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fat.

These recommendations are not a substitute for personalized medical advice.

Fruit and Vegetables

To some this may sound obvious but we can’t overlook the power of fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables are two of the best foods you can include in your everyday diet. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals which our bodies need. Additionally, they have a high water content which helps keep our bodies hydrated. Plus, fiber to keep our stomachs full while promoting digestion. 

Fruits and vegetables can be included as snacks, side dishes, or main meals. The goal is to have 5-6 servings a day! 

Any fruit or vegetable are great to include. Eat what you like! Below are a few examples.

Fruits:

  • Apples 
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Watermelon
  • Berries
  • Peaches

Vegetables: 

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes

Whole Grains

About a quarter of what we consume throughout the day should be grains. At least half of those should be whole grains.

Whole grains provide fiber to help our bodies digest properly. They can even lower cholesterol and support heart health.  Whole grains also provide B vitamins.

Whole Grains: 

  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Whole Grain Cereal
  • Quinoa
  • Brown Rice
  • Whole Grain Tortilla
  • Oatmeal

Lean Protein

Protein is essential during and after cancer treatment. Like whole grains, about a quarter of what we have throughout the day should be protein. 

Protein is needed for many different body functions. Protein can help maintain lean muscle mass. 

When we think of protein, we typically think of animal sources. But it’s recommended to also include plant based protein into your eating routine.

Lean Protein Options:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Legumes
  • Tofu
  • Green Peas

Healthy Fat

There’s two types of fat in food: saturated and unsaturated. 

Saturated fat provides no benefits to the body and can clog arteries.

On the other hand, unsaturated fat can reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol levels. Additionally, healthy fat can promote brain function.

Healthy Fat Foods:

  • Fish
  • Avocado
  • Olive Oil
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Olives

Portion Control

Incorporating portion control into one’s eating habits can be a simple yet powerful way to improve overall health and well-being. It enables individuals to enjoy their favorite foods in moderation while maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet.

Portion control benefits:

  • Weight management
  • Blood sugar regulation
  • Digestive Health
  • Heart Health
  • Financial Benefits
  • Psychological Satisfaction

Portions

Portions and servings can be confusing. Below lists measurements that count as one serving.

One serving equivalents:

  • Fruits: half cup or 1 medium fruit
  • Vegetables: half cup or 1 cup of raw leafy greens
  • Whole Grains: half cup cooked pasta/rice or 1 slice of bread
  • Protein: 3 ounces of meat, poultry, nuts, beans
  • Fat: 1 tablespoon

If portion control is something you struggle with, check out these Portion Control Containers.

Balance

Above all else, balance is key. Depriving yourself of your favorite foods can lead to binging or affect mental health. All foods can fit in your diet plan. 

Focus on adding foods into your meals and snacks rather than subtracting foods.

Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fat daily.

If your want to go the extra mile, consider this Food Tracker to monitor your success and help you meet your goals!

Foods to Limit

Maintaining a healthy prostate is crucial for overall well-being. To emphasize, a balanced diet plays a significant role in promoting prostate health after surgery. 

As stated above, some foods have beneficial effects. However, certain foods can have adverse effects on the prostate and should be limited in one’s diet.

So, what foods should you avoid after a prostatectomy?

Processed foods, laden with preservatives and artificial additives, can lead to inflammation and contribute to prostate problems.

Similarly, high-fat dairy products, when consumed in excess, may elevate the risk of prostate issues due to their saturated fat content. 

Added sugars found in sugary beverages and snacks can disrupt hormonal balance and exacerbate prostate-related conditions. 

Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer and other prostate disorders.

Finally, while red meat can be a valuable source of nutrients, overindulgence can heighten inflammation and negatively impact prostate health. 

By moderating the intake of these foods, individuals can take proactive steps towards safeguarding their prostate and maintaining overall health.

Specific Nutrients for Prostate Health

Research shows some specific nutrients may be extra beneficial for prostate health. These include antioxidants, omega 3s, and lycopene. 

Antioxidants

Antioxidants play a crucial role in protecting the body from harmful free radicals. Free radicals can contribute to prostate problems, including prostate cancer. 

Vitamins C and E, selenium, and beta-carotene are some of the potent antioxidants that have been linked to prostate health. These nutrients help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress in the prostate gland, potentially lowering the risk of prostate-related conditions.

Foods High in Antioxidants: 

  • Berries
  • Leafy Green Vegetables
  • Nuts/Seeds

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of essential fats that offer numerous health benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties. These fats have been associated with promoting prostate health and reducing the risk of prostate inflammation and enlargement.

Foods High in Omega 3s:

  • Fatty Fish
  • Walnuts
  • Chia Seeds

Lycopene

Lycopene is a potent antioxidant and a carotenoid pigment responsible for the red color in fruits and vegetables.

It has gained significant attention for its potential role in promoting prostate health.

Several studies have suggested that lycopene may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer and slow down the progression of the disease. The exact mechanisms behind lycopene’s benefits are not fully understood, but its antioxidant properties are believed to play a key role.

Foods High in Lycopene:

  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Papaya

Specific nutrients play a vital role in supporting prostate health, and incorporating them into the diet can have significant benefits after prostate surgery.

Tips for Meal Planning and Preparation

After undergoing prostate surgery, proper nutrition becomes paramount for a smooth recovery and overall well-being. A carefully planned diet can aid in the healing process and minimize potential complications.

Mean planning and prepping can help you reach your nutrition goals.

Creating a Well Balanced Meal

As stated above, building well-balanced meals is crucial for post-surgery recovery.

Focus on incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, and protein to aid tissue repair and support the immune system. Additionally, including healthy fats can promote anti-inflammatory effects and contribute to heart health.

Strive for balanced portions and aim to meet individual calorie and nutrient needs to support the body’s healing process effectively.

Consider a Portion Control Plate to help create well balanced meals.

Meal Planning and Prepping

Meal prepping can be a game-changer to help meet overall goals.

Plan and prepare meals in advance, making it easier to follow a healthy and nourishing diet consistently.

Pre-portioned meals and snacks can help avoid the temptation of reaching for unhealthy options during moments of hunger or fatigue. Consider investing in reusable containers to store meals in the fridge or freezer, ensuring that nutritious options are readily available whenever needed.

Additionally, utilizing a Meal Tracker can help you stick to your goals by monitoring intake and pre-planning meals.

Incorporating Variety and Flavors

Recovering from prostate surgery does not mean compromising on flavor and enjoyment in meals.

Embrace a diverse range of foods and experiment with different flavors to keep meals exciting and satisfying.

Incorporate herbs, spices, and seasonings to enhance the taste of dishes without relying on excessive salt or unhealthy condiments. A colorful and varied plate not only provides a broad spectrum of nutrients but also makes mealtime a more enjoyable experience.

Consult with a Registered Dietitian

Every individual’s nutritional needs are unique, especially during the recovery phase after prostate surgery.

Consulting with a registered dietitian can offer personalized guidance and ensure that the diet aligns with specific health requirements and goals.

A dietitian can create a tailored meal plan, address dietary concerns, and provide valuable advice on managing any potential side effects of the surgery. Their expertise can help individuals navigate the path to optimal recovery and long-term prostate health.

To learn more about a dietitan’s role in prostate health, check out my article: 5 Reasons You Need an Oncology Nutritionist for Prostate Cancer.

By following these essential tips for meal planning and preparation, those recovering from prostate surgery can take proactive steps towards improving their well-being, supporting the healing process, and achieving a healthy and balanced diet that contributes to better overall health.

Physical Activity

Similar to diet, physical activity plays an important role in staying healthy after prostate surgery.

Several studies have indicated that physical activity is beneficial in preventing disease recurrence and improving survival following the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

Additionally, research suggests, physical activity interventions can improve quality of life, fatigue, fitness, and function for men with prostate cancer. Exercise is important in terms of disease development, progression, and therapy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults perform 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening activity weekly.

Find an exercise you enjoy and stick to a routine.

Exercise Examples:

  • Run/Jog
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Yoga

Monitoring and Follow up

When it comes to recovering from an illness or making positive lifestyle changes, monitoring and follow-up play a vital role in ensuring success. After prostate surgery, its essential to continue to monitor and follow up with your providers.

Regular Check Ups with a Healthcare Provider

Check in appointments provide an opportunity to assess progress, detect potential issues early on, and make necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

During check-ups, healthcare providers can conduct physical examinations, review medical history, and order relevant tests to monitor the individual’s health status. 

This process enables the identification of any changes or developments that may require intervention, leading to more proactive and targeted healthcare management.

Tracking Dietary Changes and Symptoms

As displayed throughout this article, diet plays an instrumental role in health recovery and maintenance after prostate surgery.

When undergoing dietary changes, keeping a meticulous record of food intake and any associated symptoms is crucial. This practice allows individuals to identify patterns, potential triggers, and areas for improvement.

Various tools and methods can be utilized for tracking dietary changes and symptoms effectively. These may include food journals, mobile apps, or even specialized healthcare platforms.

My favorite food journal can be found here.

By tracking this information, individuals and healthcare providers can collaborate to spot connections between certain foods and symptom exacerbation or relief, leading to more informed decisions about dietary adjustments.

Adjusting Diet as Necessary Based on Recovery Process

As recovery progresses, adjustments to the diet may be necessary to align with the individual’s changing health needs. 

The insights gained from tracking dietary changes and symptoms can help healthcare providers tailor personalized nutrition plans that optimize recovery and overall well-being.

For instance, if certain foods are found to trigger adverse reactions, the healthcare provider may recommend eliminating or reducing their consumption. Conversely, foods that contribute positively to the individual’s recovery and vitality can be emphasized.

In cases where patients have specific dietary requirements due to allergies, intolerances, or medical conditions, regular monitoring and follow-up can ensure that any potential complications are addressed promptly. 

The collaboration between patients and healthcare providers in adjusting the diet based on recovery progress after prostate surgery can lead to better health outcomes and an improved quality of life.

Conclusion

To wrap up, diet changes directly after prostate surgery can reduce unwanted side effects.

Proper nutrition after prostate surgery is necessary for best outcomes.

Long term, diet adjustments can decrease change of recurrence and promote over health and well being. Focusing on a balanced diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fat can lead to better outcomes.

Specific nutrients such as antioxidants, omega 3s, lycopene may further improve prostate health. Some lifestyle adjustments such as physical activity and meal planning can also help meet health goals.

A healthy diet after prostate surgery can improve quality of life and longevity.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD MY FREE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO GROCERY SHOPPING FOR PROSTATE HEALTH

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